Skate Canada Pairs Preview

Savchenko and Szolkowy had another standout season last year winning gold at two of their three Grand Prix events, the Grand Prix Final and at Worlds.  They were able to narrowly hold off the Russians but there is no team in their radar here.  They should have an easy time collecting another gold medal and with this field they might even go for their throw triple axel since they can rack up big points in their free skate.

Duhamel and Radford finished 5th at Worlds but were considerably behind the Germans.  They have a nice style and are still a relatively new team.  They put a lot of the more difficult side by side jumps in their program which could win them big points but it could also cost them if they make mistakes.

Lawrence and Swiegers were not able to defend their Four Continents medal and did not make the Worlds team for Canada.  They have a lot of potential but some of their program choices last season did not seem to suit them and seemed too juniorish.  I think War Horse will be a much better vehicle for them and their scores at the U.S. Figure Skating Classic show them holding pace with their Canadian teammates and give them a shot at the podium here.

Vise and Baldwin won bronze at the U.S. Figure Skating Classic and seemed to have recovered from their disastrous performance at U.S. nationals.  Another dark horse team is Davis and Ladwig who finished 5th at the USFSC but they are a very new team and will continue to improve throughout the season as their partnership begins to gel.

My podium predictions:
Gold: Savchenko/Szolkowy
Silver: Duhamel/Radford
Bronze: Lawrence/Swiegers

Bios of the competitors:
Duhamel/Radford, CAN:  They placed 5th at Worlds and 4th at Four Continents.  They won bronze at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they finished 5th.  Their personal best is 185.41.  She is 26 and he is 27.

Lawrence/Swiegers, CAN: They finished 7th at Four Continents.  They placed 8th at Skate Canada last season.  They are the 2011 Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  Their personal best is 171.73.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Berton/Hotarek, ITA: They finished 11th at Worlds and 4th at Europeans.  They placed 4th at NHK Trophy and won bronze at Rostelecom Cup last season.  Their personal best is 168.16.  She is 22 and he is 28.

Popova/Massot, FRA: They placed 8th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 139.98.  She is 19 and he is 23.

Savchenko/Szolkowy, GER: They are the reigning World Champions.  They won gold at Skate America, bronze at NHK Trophy and gold at Rostelecom Cup last season to qualify for the Grand Prix Final where they won gold.  They are the 2010 Olympic Bronze Medalists; 2008, 2009 and 2011 World Champions; 2010 World Silver Medalists; 2007 World Bronze Medalists; 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 European Champions and 2006 and 2010 European Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 217.85.  She is 28 and he is 33.

Kemp/King, GBR: They finished 19th at Worlds and 9th at Europeans.  Their personal best is 139.94.  She is 24 and he is 28.

Davis/Ladwig, USA: This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 20 and he is 32.

Vise/Baldwin, USA: They placed 6th at Skate America last season.  Their personal best is 155.42.  She is 26 and he is 34.